Jul 10, 2009

Goginan’s Glory Days Revisited

Once Upon a Time in Goginan is a lively and entertaining account of the village which lies in the hills above Aberystwyth. It includes hilarious and touching anecdotes about the unforgettable local characters, the frequenting of chapels and pubs, the development of the local football league, the effects of the war, and the Boy’s Own-style adventures which the author experienced during an idyllic childhood in Goginan.

Author Ceiriog Gwynne Evans says: “The idea of writing a book of this sort has been gnawing at me for years. Eventually someone told me to get on with it
or shut up about it!”

He was inspired to write the book when, on a trip back to Goginan from his present home in Trowbridge, he stopped at Nant-yr-Arian and took in the view of the Melindŵr Valley. “As the memories flooded back, I saw in my mind’s eye a vibrant rural community which lived, laboured and died in this lovely valley. I decided there and then that I would try to perpetuate the memory of these folk by gathering as much information as I could about some of the individuals who contributed to the fabric of society.”

One anecdote concerns the local division of the Home Guard. “I well remember the first recruitment meeting of these elderly personnel. They were a motley crew; most of them were in working clothes, cloth cap or trilby hat and overalls, carrying an interesting variety of ‘weapons’. One or two had double-barrelled shotguns but most were armed with walking sticks, umbrellas or pick axe handles; some of the agricultural fraternity came armed with
hoes while the more aggressive types brought pitchforks, some still caked with manure!”

The author’s family played a central role in many of the village’s activities. His relatives included a formidable aunt, Marie, who lived over a hundred years. What was the secret of her longevity? A bottle of whisky a week and one Guinness a day.

The author hopes that his
book will “encourage people from other rural communities to stir up reminiscences of their own localities and write them down before they are lost in the mists of time.”

Once Upon a Time in Goginan also traces the history of the village since the time of the Celts and the Romans, examining developments in education, farming, religion and mining. The book features historical photographs of Goginan as well as the author’s own illustrations.

Ceiriog Gwynne Evans was born
in Goginan and educated in local schools and the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He spent his working life teaching and lecturing in and around the London area. He retired in 1990 and moved with his American wife, Cecele, to Trowbridge in Wiltshire.

The author will be signing copies of Once Upon a Time in Goginan on 18 July between 12 and 3pm at Waterst
ones, 27 Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth.

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